17 tips and tricks to prevent home break-ins
Whether you’ll be gone for the day or the weekend, or you are taking an extended vacation, you may be worried about your home’s security. And you may have good reason to be.
It is estimated that there were over 6 million property crime offenses in 2020. And although the thought of a break-in may sound scary, there are some things you can do to help deter burglars and prevent break-ins.
- Make it look like someone is home. Leave lights, a radio, a television, or a combination of them all on when you leave so the house looks occupied. If you’re going to be away for an extended period of time, a few days or a few weeks, use timers or smart home programming to make sure lights are turning on and off throughout the day and night. This will help it appear as if someone is home.
- As basic as it sounds, make sure all doors and windows are locked whenever you leave or go to bed. Burglars can easily come in through an unlocked door or an open window.
- Intruders can easily break basic locks. If your exterior doors only have basic locks, upgrade to deadbolts.
- Keep your garage door closed and locked whenever you aren’t using it. Leaving your garage open while you are away or even while you are simply in another part of the house can be tempting to potential burglars.
- Turn off deliveries while you are away. Mail, newspapers, and other deliveries piling up at your door or in your mailbox will signal to everyone you aren’t home. Before leaving on a trip, put all deliveries on hold or make arrangements with family, friends, or neighbors to take care of them while you're away.
- Keep your lawn mowed while you're away. Just like mail piling up, an overgrown lawn can signal to people that you’re away. Make arrangements to have your lawn mowed if you’ll be gone for an extended period of time.
- Trim hedges, trees, and bushes that are near windows and doors or any potential point of entry. You don’t want to make it easy for an intruder to hide while they break in. Also, tall trees can make it easier for an intruder to enter through a second-story window. Make sure any branches are kept away from windows. You may even want to consider planting thorny bushes and plants that a burglar wouldn’t want to or be comfortable moving through or hiding in.
- Lock up your ladders. This is especially important if you own a two-story home. Like a tall tree near a window, a ladder can make it easy for an intruder to enter through a second-story window, which is often not connected to security systems (if you have one).
- Close your curtains. Open curtains can show off to the world your new television or fancy office setup. Don’t tempt the burglars.
- Don’t advertise with your trash, especially after major holidays. Just like an open curtain can tell others about all your fancy devices, a visible television or computer box in your trash can also let potential burglars know about all the goodies they may find inside your home. Make sure you break down all your boxes.
- Keep high-end outdoor items stored out of sight. BBQs, bikes, lawnmowers, and other big-ticket items can easily be taken without breaking into a home. Make sure these outdoor items are securely stored whenever they aren’t in use.
- Don’t hide an extra key. Rather than storing an extra key under a door mat or in a flower pot, leave a key with a neighbor or family member. Burglars know where to look for hidden keys.
- Add a security sign to your front yard or a sticker to your windows and doors. Even if you don’t have a security system installed, if the burglars think you do, they may think twice before breaking and entering.
- Install motion sensor lights around entry points in your home. A surprising light may catch your intruder off guard and scare them off.
- Get to know your neighbors. The more you get to know your neighbors, the more likely they are to not only keep an eye on your home but also be able to recognize if someone that shouldn’t be lurking around your home is.
- Don’t share your vacation plans on social media. Posting you’ll be taking a trip is an advertisement for an empty home.
- And last but definitely not least, installing a home security system. A home security system is not only a great way to deter a burglar, but many systems will notify you of a break-in even when you are away, and a properly placed security camera can help provide details about the intruder.
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